When the Twin Towers fell twelve years ago, one of the community groups birthed from that disaster was Meetup.com. Scott Heiferman, one of its co-founders, was living in New York City following the events of September 11 and noticed people said hello to one another and were looking for ways to help and support each other. The idea for Meetup was born from the question: Could we use the Internet to get off the Internet to connect and grow local communities? Every day, thousands of Meetups happen: Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups, and of course, support Meetups for those affected by the Watchtower and Mormon religions. Most Meetup groups are local so that the Internet is only used to gather persons of like interests, share their contact info, and post what venue to meet at in person. Our three Meetup groups don’t follow that traditional format since combined we’ve grown to nearly 900 members worldwide. However, when people join looking for members who may live close by, as a co-organizer, I do make an effort in helping them pair up with other members in their own area if asked. Our support and encouragement toward one another in these groups remains through Internet posts on the Meetup site. It’s difficult to get together in person. However, last winter, one of our members on the Worldwide Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Internet Meetup said it would be fun to get together with others in person. I noticed he and his wife lived nearby and so I offered that I’d be happy to host some campers from the Midwest in my yard.
We formed a private Facebook group to work out the details and this July, I hosted the FIRST Annual Mini Midwest XJW FEST. Nine of us from several states and nearby towns were able to enjoy some good campfire conversation, games with “fabulous prizes,” a kayak trip down the Black river complete with a sand bar pie fight, and worship together at church on Sunday.
Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie